This past July 4th, we went to Las Vegas. (Yes, dilatory posting! Trying to catch up.)
The night we arrived, we headed straight for the comforts of the nearest fast casual restaurant chain – we wanted something fast, cheap and garishly lit enough to deter random carousers. (Our oasis was Earl of Sandwich – a well-rated place in Planet Hollywood that featured an appealingly vacant dining room.) A shrieking bachelorette party careened by, loudly singing along to Trey Songz’s “2 Reasons” (clean version) as it blared from the soundsystem: “I only came for the ladies and the drinks / the ladies and the drinks / the ladies and the drinks … “ (If you don’t know the song, simply imagine this line repeated shibboleth-like ad infinitum in a way that is only entertaining if you’ve availed yourself of plentiful ladies and/or drinks).
It was then, hearing the drunken ladies cheerily parroting Trey’s rallying cry, that I realized it: We have become too boring for Las Vegas.
Notice, I don’t say “too old for Las Vegas” or “over Las Vegas.” But we’ve become too distracted to appreciate the excesses and wonder of the city!
When I was growing up, my teetotaler, too-skinflint-to-gamble father loved taking my sisters and me to Las Vegas. The city appeals to the Chinese appreciation for all things big and bright.
Also, the destination offers cheap and plentiful shopping, lodging, dining and … parking. The last feature is not to be overlooked! My dad was known to plan entire family vacations around such seemingly drop-in-the-bucket cost factors like which hotels offered free parking or free continental breakfasts. Also: Back when casinos used to provide those big plastic cups for gamblers to collect their tokens/chips in, my dad would sic my sisters and me on random casino floors (18+ age limit be darned!) to collect abandoned token cups, which we then brought home to use as drinking tumblers. (We also had a full set of emesis basins – i.e., the plastic bowls hospitals use to collect patient vomit – that we gamely ate Maruchan Ramen out of. Perhaps you saw us in Martha Stewart Living?)
So we started out using Sin City as our personal drinkware shopping ground. I was about 12 when my dad was really into these trips, so we’d spend the day doing free activities like walking around Fremont Street, visiting the Hoover Dam and endlessly strutting the massive, well-air conditioned malls.
Then, once I graduated college and moved out to L.A., I was free to explore Las Vegas the way all the commercials told me I was supposed to – by availing myself of the plentiful and cheap booze (and no open bottle prohibitions!), by visiting the glitzy nightclubs and restaurants and by behaving like a wild disciple of Bacchus.